May 17, 2010
We Are Cunard
Posted in: Queen Mary 2
Countdown to Queen Elizabeth – 147 days
As I am still on leave, I am pleased to enclose a Blog from our WeAreCunard correspondent on Queen Mary 2, Gun Sukwanna, who is also the Social Hostess; that’s coming up. Meanwhile, Queen Victoria has settled in to her summer season, having just returned from the Canary Islands, and has now just started her 2010 TOGs voyage to the Mediterranean. Yes, legendary broadcaster, Sir Terry Wogan and his intrepid team are sailing on this voyage, joined by over 350 of his TOGs (Terry’s Old Geezers and Gals). This follows the hugely successful voyage in 2008, and you can find out more about the TOGs and what happened last time by clicking on this link to the first of five Blogs posted during that voyage.
Unfortunately I am not able to join them this year as I am involved in some of the preparations for Queen Elizabeth at Cunard’s head office in Southampton. But fear not we’ll have lots of stories and pictures from the team on board throughout the voyage which calls to great cities including Barcelona, Monte Carlo and Civitavecchia for Rome. More of that soon, but now it’s time to go to our flagship for a guest Blog.
Gun Sukwanna, Queen Mary 2 Social Hostess
In April, Queen Mary 2 began her transatlantic season, sailing from New York to Southampton, accompanied by a quintet from the Juilliard Jazz School. Cunard and Juilliard announced their partnership earlier this year, which includes performances and Cunard Insights enrichment programmes with jazz alumni, faculty and students on eastbound Crossings during 2010.
Pictured with Entertainment Director Ray Rouse (centre) are the featured performers on the first crossing (from left): saxophonist Tony Lustig, Artistic Director of Jazz Studies Carl Allen, trumpeter Brandon Lee, drummer Aaron Kimmel, Executive Director of Jazz Studies Laurie Carter, pianist Kris Bowers and bassist Phil Kuehn.
The Juilliard School established America’s standard for education in the performing arts, beginning with music in 1905. In 1951, its Dance Division was established, with combined training in contemporary and ballet technique. Juilliard became part of Lincoln Center in 1968, and added a four-year drama program. A residence hall – the School’s first – was completed in 1990, and in 2001, Juilliard broke new ground with the addition of its jazz programme; a graduate programme in Historical Performance. The programme began late last year, the same year that Juilliard inaugurated its partnership with the Metropolitan Opera’s Lindemann Young Artist Development Program. Currently more than 800 young artists from 39 states (plus Washington, D.C.) and 46 foreign countries attend Juilliard. You can find out more on Juilliard’s web site: www.juilliard.edu
During the crossing the quintet performed in the Chart Room as well as a special matinee performance in the Royal Court Theatre. They also delighted Queen Mary 2’s Officers with a performance in the Officers’ Wardroom.
Recently Queen Mary 2 also made her first call of the year to Hamburg, Germany which coincided with the City’s celebrations marking over 800 years of Harbour Fest. Anyone who has sailed on Queen Mary 2 to Hamburg will know how much the city has taken Cunard’s flagship to their hearts, so it was great to be part of these wonderful celebrations as you can see from this picture of the flotilla of ships escorting her that night.
It’s always a special occasion when Queen Mary 2 makes a maiden call, and that was certainly the case on her recent call to Elsinore in Denmark. The city is situated at the narrowest point of the Sound Strait, where Sweden almost meets Denmark, so understandably it has rich shipping traditions. Elsinore is very proud of its history, with the most visited attraction being Kronborg Castle, made famous as the Elsinore Castle in Shakespeare’s Hamlet. It was quite a sight as Queen Mary 2 made her approaches to the historic city.
Kronborg’s primary function was actually not as a royal’s residence, but rather as a grandiose tollhouse, collecting taxes from the ships passing through the narrow Sound for more than 400 years. The Maritime Museum, which pays tribute to the country’s maritime heritage, is also housed at Kronborg Castle and is Denmark’s national maritime museum featuring an outstanding collection of model ships and paintings. The Old Town has numerous timber-framed houses and restored cobbled by-ways, and the main street called Stengade, is one of Denmark’s oldest pedestrian and shopping streets. Another major attraction is the Karmeliterklosteret, a 15th Carmelite Monastery, which is one of the best preserved medieval monastic buildings in northern Europe.
The maiden call was celebrated in style with a special welcome on the pier side by the Hot Jazz and Sweet Swing Band that performed traditional jazz. There were also actors portraying Hamlet and Ophelia on the Kings Quay giving guests the opportunity to take a photo with Hamlet and Ophelia with Kronborg Castle as the perfect backdrop.
Later that evening, as Queen Mary 2 ended her maiden call to this wonderful Danish port, she passed Kronborg Castle, and was saluted with dansk løsen, which is a traditional three gunshot tribute.
Thank you very much Gun for a great update; we look forward to hearing from you again soon. I’ll be back in a day or so with news from the TOGs voyage on Queen Victoria, and hopefully I’ll also have more news soon from Queen Elizabeth in Italy. Thank you as always for all your comments and questions; please keep them coming. Cheers for now Alastair.